Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Obama Failure on Tribal Disenrollment Justice Department Avoids Conflicts - Galanda

Here's an excellent indictment of the Obama Administration for avoiding the human and civil rights abuses BY tribes against their own people via tribal disenrollment, by attorney Gabe Galanda.  Failure of the disenrolled to continue to press our  politicians, leads to those same politicians not caring or rather unwilling to expend any political capital against big money Indian tribes.

We will have a letter requesting a policy statement from the Department of Justice later today. Please plan on sending a copy for each of your family members.


More problematically, Interior and the BIA fail to appreciate that the tribal power to determine membership—or more traditionally, kinship or belonging—is distinctly different from the power to disenroll. The former is a matter of inherent tribal sovereignty. The latter is a matter of federal delegated plenary power that the Congress delegated to the Secretary of the Interior, and in turn, the Secretary has now delegated to tribal governments. This distinction is critical, and lost on most all of Indian Country due to the mistruths espoused on this topic by the federal government and others.

Indeed, the BIA’s Indian Affairs Manual explains: “When enrollees lose their membership they also lose their right to share in the distribution of tribal assets. Since the Secretary is responsible for distribution of trust assets to tribal members,disenrollment actions are subject to approval by the Secretary or his authorized representatives. Any person whose disenrollment has been approved by the Area Director acting under delegated authority may appeal the adverse decision as provided in 25 C.F.R. § 2.”    

Instead of honoring those policies, or federal law, Interior honors a selfish decision made by a few BIA senior bureaucrats during the Bush Administration;

But the Obama Administration has failed to doanythingto help fix today’s federally caused, tribal disenrollment crisis. Not only is it the federal government’s fiduciary obligation to all Indian peoples to do so, but it is the morally correct thing to do.
Read more at: Galanda on Disenrollment


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Bush didn't help you much either. Didn't it all start under his watch? It's not for a lack of you trying OP, but it seems like you don't get much support from your fellow disenrolled. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Besides....the Republicans are in majority now, try blaming them as well.

Anonymous said...

All politicians are ignorant or purposely blind to our issue. It started because of the Casinos and lawyers who could teach the leaders how to cheat their own people and change their Tribal Constitutions. If I remember right, during the last two years of Bush's Presidency the House and Senate were Democratic majority, and the President was constantly being harassed by them and the media, this happened on their watch too. So now it is time for us to get them to look into the disenrollment issue by amending the ICRA, we can do it, and you are right, we need to be squeakier than all the other crap that is squealing. We are citizens too and we have rights.

Anonymous said...

How many yrs did our Ancestory get pushed here and there and have their rights taken away by land grabbers? Government finally created reserves and rights are still being stripped by inside and outside. Don't allow it to continue. anything is better than nothing 4ever! We ALL belong here! TRUE

OPechanga said...

TO ANONYMOUS 10:37:Try reading the quotes, Bush is mentioned in the 3rd graph.

The GOP kept the Pechanga water rights bill from getting passed, THANKS TO MY visit with them in October 2013.

The Interior/BIA/Justice Departments are under the EXECUTIVE BRANCH.

We are squeeking, and will have a letter to DOJ up later today.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, ANONYMOUS, to bring these issues up to the GOP in authority?

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

If this is what the current BIA policy manual says, it can be challenged, and will be soon enough. The problem many face is that they have already obtained final agency action, or perhaps the 6 year statute of limitations on suing the BIA under the APA has expired. I don't know how to get around that at this time. I do know that if tribal leaders find out that they can't strip disenrollees of tribal benefits they won't be so anxious to disenroll.

I look forward to the challenge to this policy, and to the elevation of the protection of the fiduciary trust obligation over the principle of deference to tribal leaders. Somewhere along the way the BIA and the Federal Government confused the tribe with the tribal leaders and imbued the leaders with powers far beyond the authority delegated them by the General Membership. The tribal leaders have abused these powers and used them to harm individual Indians.

This is not the intent of the trust obligation. The BIA is supposed to foster the general welfare of American Indians, as well as promote self-governance and self-determination. These are not contradictory objectives in spite of the BIA policy manual and their internal agenda.

That internal agenda must be exposed as detrimental to the objectives of self-determination and self-governance. Tribes are not governing themselves when their leaders have usurped the power of the General Membership, and installed themselves as dictators-for-life. I don't know how this escapes the BIA bureaucrats, but they can be particularly obtuse when confronted with any ancillary issues to disenrollment.

They are going to have to be compelled to act by court order to change, and there may be some agency employees that find themselves on the wrong side of the issues. First things first. Let's take them to task for ignoring individual Indians and favoring corrupt leaders.

How do you do it? Stop trying to prove you have the blood, that you belong, or the the tribal leaders are corrupt. Instead insist that one standard must be applied to all tribal members, and that you can't be selectively held to a different standard than other tribal members. It is a violation of your civil rights to be held to a standard of eligibility that is selectively applied just to you or your family. All tribal members must meet the same eligibility requirements, and no disenrollment can occur unless all tribal members are treated equally.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry OP, but you seem to have a problem with Obama and blame him for everything. I'm not tribal, but I quit going to Pechnga and Pala after reading your site. And I try to talk many of my friends to follow suit and boycott the casinos of these tribes. And I have written many of the politicians when you have posted address and names. If you read my comment, you can see I was giving you credit, but you can't win this alone. It seems like the tribe of Pala rolled over and the Pala Watch site must be taken over by Robert. It's just an advertisement for Pala Interactive.

Anonymous said...

No one is alone, or doing more than anyone else. Either you can or can not take a moment each day, hope you can. Maybe you can put your name out their for all to see, or maybe you can't. Whatever you do, it's ok. Hopefully spreading the truth is more useful than pointing your fingers at others in your clan and say "I" do more than "ALL" because I ASSUME SO. Thank you "ALL" for everything you do, try to do and don't do. We Are "ALL" here for a reason. The book has been written. Enjoy the ride!

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

To Anonymous at 5:23pm,

Saying the tribe of Pala rolled over seems to infer that the disenrollees have given up. I am here to tell you that nothing of the sort has happened.

What did happen is that the descendants of Margarita Brittain split off into two main groups. One group recently filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against the BIA which was denied in the U.S. Court, Southern District of California by Judge Cynthia Bashant. They have an opportunity to appeal this decision, and may do so.

The other group has a lawsuit against the Pala EC that was dismissed by the U.S. Court, Southern District of California, Judge William Hayes presiding. This decision has been appealed and a hearing was conducted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges on March 6th. The panel heard arguments and will issue a decision on whether or not to uphold the lower court decision.

Pala Watch is a blog operated by a member of the second group described above. I spoke with him on Monday, but we did not talk about Pala Watch. It is up to him how he runs his blog, but I can assure you that Robert Smith has not taken control of the site.

The news about Pala Interactive is relatively innocuous and non-committal. It does not incite retribution against innocent persons, nor does it reveal the nature of the actions that are currently taking place on behalf of the disenrollees. Although I am sure there are many people that would like more in depth news about these actions, I am not at liberty to discuss the details at this time.

Anonymous said...

Reinstatement....rolling over actually referred to active tribal members..NOT disenrollees.